Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spring Carnival!

Spring Carnival: Cox Plate at Moonee Valley Racing Club

This Saturday was the Cox Plate. It's one of many races during Spring Carnival here in Melbourne. It's all about the fashion at the races. We got all dressed up and went to this race. It's one of the better races to attend, because it's not ridiculously busy. The Course we were at holds about 40,000 people, and the race next weekend holds about 100,000. Despite it being the 'less' busy race, I thought there were plenty of people. It was a bit chilly, which was a little disappointing. But it was better than sweating all day. Paul wore his fancy new suit, and I wore my new dress. We found all my accessories while we were in Perth. My earrings were a gift from Mrs. Forsyth, and they worked perfectly with my dress. They are silver with amethyst stones. My fascinator was actually two separate pieces; big flower, and separate netting with clips. Luckily we brought some flats for me to slip into through out the day. We were on our feet for the entire day, and there's a lot of walking involved so my tootsies took a bit of a beating.

There were eight races and we placed about five bets. We won or placed on nearly all our bets. We bet small, so we won small. But that didn't take any of the excitement out of winning. We didn't bet with any real theory. I picked one jockey, because he was wearing yellow and so was I. We won on that one. We won on another horse we bet on, because Paul liked the name 'Super Cool'. The first race started at 1:00 and the last race was 6:00. Naturally we missed the first race. It turns into a really long day. We made sure to drink a lot of water at home, and had a big breakfast. So luckily the champagne had something to stick to in my stomach. The legal drinking age here is eighteen. So it's a bit entertaining to see the drunk girls with heels, fascinators and braces. We saw one girl in a hot pink dress getting wheeled out in a wheel chair by police. Another guy got escorted out by police a couple hours later. Paul gave me ample warning that there would be plenty of drunk people, so I was ready for it.

The bets are placed with independent bookies. You just give them your money, they give you a receipt and you return to the same bookie to collect your winnings.... if you're lucky enough to win. They all had those bags over their shoulder. But I'm pretty sure it was just for looks/to display their name. 
I didn't see anything in the bags.

Here's a view of some of the crowd and the betting area behind them. They are all facing a giant TV that's playing the race we're at, and other races around the country. 

They walk the horses around a small oval, so you can take a look at their behavior before placing a bet. They also interview the trainers, farm owners, jockeys, etc before the race. This was before the final race, so there were quite a few people in the stands watching.

Naturally I found pretty flowers to take a picture of.

The final race we were able to get close enough to see the track. 
There were so many people earlier in the day that I couldn't see the track at all. 

Our final bet was on the jockey wearing pink and white. He was doing awesome at the beginning of the race. But by the finish he was in the back. They go by in what feels like a second. But it's pretty amazing to be that close and see them cruise by.

We had a great time. Pauls friend, Leon was in town for the races from Perth. So we met him there. It's definitely better to be there in a group. It's also a quite expensive day. The tickets alone run a fair bit of money. Then there's the drinks, food, and bets all day. Luckily, we don't live too far from the track, so we took a train in. The train conductor announced our stop with "Those wearing suits, fascinators, and frocks this is your stop". That saved us a lot in the cash department. It's a fun excuse to get dressed up and throw away money on betting. I'm happy we made it, but we'll see if we're up for it next year.

1 comment:

  1. Turns out the bags that the bookies hold are full of money! They actually do serve a purpose. They also show how much money the bookies make if they need a bag that big for cash.